Skip to main content
Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHad)
In This Section

Speaking Up: Taking an Active Role in Your Health Care

CHaD's primary goal is to provide you with the highest quality healthcare to achieve your best possible health. This goal can best be met by working together, and insuring that our care is patient and family centered.

By asking and answering questions about your health status, diagnosis and treatment plan, and speaking up when you suspect that something is not right, you can insure that we achieve our ultimate goal – the right treatment, at the right time, in the right location, every time.


  • Before any test, procedure or administering medication, we will always ask for TWO pieces of information (typically name and hospital bracelet ID number). If you notice that anyone forgets to ask, PLEASE interrupt, "Pardon me, but how do you know that I’m the right patient?"

Medication safety

  • All drugs and herbals have the possibility of interacting with each other in a negative way. Hospitalized patients should never receive any medications from home (not even an aspirin or herbal remedy) unless discussed with the doctor or nurse.
  • Families need to be familiar with the medications the patient is taking and what they look like. If the medication looks different from what you expect, be sure to ask the nurse or doctor to double check the order.
  • Anytime a medication is given, please prompt us, "Can you tell me the name of the medication, the dose, and the reason that it is being given?"

Pediatric hitchcock early response team (PediHERT)

  • We recognize that families are often the first to notice that a patient is becoming more ill, and that they frequently have a great deal of experience in treating a particular illness. When it comes to your child YOU are the EXPERTS.
  • If you are worried about your child, please talk to your nurse about your concerns. In the unlikely event that the nurse or other members of your health care team are not responding to your satisfaction, please state, "Please call PediHERT" or you can use the bedside telephone and dial 5-5555 to request a Pediatric HERT.
  • Be prepared to tell the Operator the location and room number, so we can get the team to your side as soon as possible.
  • We will have a team of highly skilled pediatric professionals at the bedside quickly, and they will work directly with the medical team to insure that urgent health problems are addressed immediately.
  • You can learn more about the PediHERT program from the flyer posted in your room.

Preventing infection

  • Hand washing, using soap and water or Purell, helps prevent infections. We expect all people who interact with patients to wash their hands before and after any patient contact.
  • If you’re not sure that a member of the treatment team has washed their hands, please speak up, "Excuse me, but did you remember to wash your hands?"
  • To protect all of our patients, please ask family members and visitors not to visit if they have cold or other respiratory symptoms.


  • To protect all of our patients, the PICU may screen all family and visitors for up-to-date immunization status such as flu and pneumococcus. This is an opportunity for patients to get updated on immunizations so, if any need updating, please notify a member of the care team.


  • Be sure the health care team knows if you have any substance (such as latex), insect, food or medication allergies.

Preventing falls

  • Most falls occur when patients try to get out of bed on their own. It is always safer to ask for help.
  • Ask the nursing staff to help, especially after surgery or receiving pain medicine or at night.
  • Keep the call button near you.
  • Report any spills or clutter on the floor.
  • Wear footwear with rubber soles to prevent slipping.
  • Make sure you have adequate light to see.

Equipment safety

  • When parents need to leave the room of a baby, please put crib rails all the way up before you leave the room, and please tell the nurse if you’re leaving a child alone. Generally, for older patients, one rail of the bed needs to be down at all times to prevent a possible fall by a patient trying to climb over the rail.
  • If the patient is using a pump, become familiar with how the alarm sounds. If a pump alarm goes off, your nurse may not hear it quickly so ring your call bell. Pumps allow us to deliver medication in an even way, and they alarm if there is something wrong with the tubing or when the infusion is done.
  • If the patient is using a monitor, it alarms at the nurses station. Monitors alarm when there is a change in the patient’s condition. It is important that you not silence any of the alarms as the nurse needs to evaluate why the alarm occurred and make any changes in care as necessary.

CHaD & Dartmouth-Hitchcock are tobacco free

  • Please do not use tobacco products in any of the buildings of DHMC, outside on the sidewalks, or in the parking lots or driveways. Smoking is permitted inside private cars except in the parking garage. Your nurse can assist you with nicotine withdrawal.

We are always looking for ways to improve safety of you/your child and the family. If you have any concerns or observations, please share them with your health care team and Dr. Sam Casella, CHaD Patient Safety and Quality Officer, (603) 653-9877.